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Cosmopolitan Motors Could See New Life

The Hatboro Borough Council began a conditional use hearing for a combined 87-unit residential and commercial development proposed for 301 Jacksonville Road.

A conceptual drawing of what an 87-unit apartment complex could look like on Jacksonville Road in Hatboro. Credit: Theresa Katalinas
A conceptual drawing of what an 87-unit apartment complex could look like on Jacksonville Road in Hatboro. Credit: Theresa Katalinas

Developers hoping to reuse dilapidated structures in Hatboro’s heavy industrial district began a conditional use hearing to see if apartments and office space could replace a former auto business. 

James Cassidy, an architect with C2 Architecture Inc., testified before the Hatboro Borough Council last week that the proposed 87-unit apartment complex, 168-space parking garage and 4,000 square feet of office space planned for the former Cosmopolitan Motors, 301 Jacksonville Road, would be carried out as a “historic renovation” of three existing buildings situated on Jacksonville Road and Meadowbrook Avenue. 

With the exception of building A, which would be expanded, Cassidy said the other two buildings on the 2.7-acre site are nationally recognized and would be renovated and restored in accordance with state and federal guidelines.

“It preserves the historic qualities of Hatboro.” Cassidy said.

The buildings “lend themselves very well” to residences, he said.

“I do not believe that industrial uses will be coming back to that site anytime soon,” Cassidy said. “This is phase two of the renovation of Jacksonville Road.”

The council did not vote following Cassidy’s testimony, which took about 30 minutes prior to the start of last week’s regularly scheduled council meeting. Instead, the governing body opted to continue the hearing until Aug. 12.

At that time, Cassidy’s attorney, Bruce Nicholson, said Jacksonville Green LLC representatives could “get more into details” about the proposed development.

Mixed-use developments are permitted in the borough’s heavy industrial district provided that applicants meet specific requirements. A conditional use hearing is a semi-formal presentation involving witness testimony, questions from municipal officials and attorneys on both sides, as well as questions from residents. A court reporter takes a complete record of the proceeding. 

Borough attorney Christen Pionzio said the use would be “permitted as long as criteria is complied with.”

Conditional use approval would be the first step in the Jacksonville Green project, Pionzio said, adding that a land development application, review and formal consideration is handled separately and following the conditional use process. 

During his testimony Monday, Cassidy said that in addition to reusing existing buildings, he intends to follow energy-efficient guidelines as outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council to obtain the second-highest LEED certification for green building. 

The development, as proposed, would use geo-thermal heat pumps, as well as other features that would help keep residents’ heating and cooling costs down, he said.

The mostly paved site, once redeveloped, would use “less impervious coverage than there is now,” according to Cassidy, who said he would create courtyards as well as “green spaces for tenants.”

If you go

The conditional use hearing for the former Cosmopolitan Motors, 301 Jacksonville Road, will resume on Aug. 12 at borough hall, 414 S. York Road, beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

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